What do you do when you hit a wall, lose motivation, plateau, need a routine or simply have no idea where to start in the gym? Personal trainers are a great resource to use at the gym for people of all ages, abilities and experiences. I've seen trainers work with everyone from beginners who have little to no gym experience to advanced regulars who need someone to push them along. It seems like some people are afraid to talk to personal trainers or just don't know much about them. Since I'm in the process of getting my certification in personal training, I figured now would be a great time to talk about how awesome and helpful they are.
Firstly, everyone should know what personal trainers are, exactly, and what they do. A personal trainer is a certified fitness professional who specializes in creating exercise regimens, helping people stay motivated and informing people about the importance of health and wellness — especially in terms of exercise. Personal trainers meet with clients and guide them through personalized workout sessions to assist them in accomplishing goals, whether they are to lose weight, gain strength, tone, stay healthy, etc.
I'm not going to lie — meeting with a personal trainer can be pricey depending on your gym, but can be extremely helpful for all kinds of people. The average cost for an hourlong personal training session is about $50, but some gyms offer free consultations or even trials with their trainers to get a feel for what a session is typically like. And while we're being honest, a good personal trainer is worth every penny.
In order for an individual to even become a personal trainer, he/she must complete hours upon hours of study and pass a rigorous exam. The exam covers everything that a personal trainer should know — from scope of practice, to creating effective exercise regimens, to successfully getting to know clients. The certification can be gained through an independent organization or a college. Either way, the exam itself is through an organization that has to be nationally accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
With that being said, any good personal trainer should know their stuff. Some trainers even have specializations in various health and wellness fields, such as exercise for cancer patients, sports conditioning, youth fitness, and much more. It doesn't always have to be about weight loss. Like I said, a personal trainer is a great resource, as they are knowledgeable and passionate about health and fitness.
So, now that we know what all a personal trainer is, let's talk about how it works. The process itself is usually pretty similar gym to gym, with some variations and differences. The first step is a consultation, in which a personal trainer asks lots of questions about fitness experience, health, history and goals — and performs assessments to see where the individual falls in terms of ability and needs. This is all important in determining an exercise regimen for anyone. Not only is the consultation an opportunity for the trainer to get to know his/her client, but also for the client to get to know the trainer and ensure that it will be a good matchup.
After the consultation, it's time to get to work. Personal trainers create an exercise regimen for the clients to follow, both with their guidance and without, and continue the process for as long as the clients book and pay for sessions. Sessions can be individual, with partners, small groups or larger and can be offered in increments that differentiate in length and number of sessions. What individuals decide to do, exactly, is up to them and their needs.
Working with a personal trainer isn't for everyone, but I highly recommend it for people who need that extra motivation, aren't sure how to accomplish their health goals, or would prefer having a workout created for them. There is nothing wrong with seeking assistance from a personal trainer — anyone could work with a trainer. On your next trip to the gym, check in with a trainer, ask questions and think about getting started on a guided path to health.
Amanda Oppenheim is a senior at Stevenson University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.